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Anzac Frigate Systems Upgrade

The Frigate Systems Upgrade (FSU) project is delivering upgraded surveillance, combat and self-defence capabilities for HMNZS Te Kaha and Te Mana.

The upgrade has been designed to maintain the frigates’ surveillance, self-defence, and combat systems to a standard comparable to the frigates used by Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, allowing them to continue to operate in a full range of roles. It includes new radars, electronic detection and other above water systems, the self-defence missile system, decoys against missiles and torpedoes, an upgrade to the hull-mounted sonar, and the combat management system that integrates these.

Government approval

14 April 2014

Total project budget of $446 million was approved; this included project management costs, contingency, introduction into service and capitalisation costs, but excluded foreign exchange variations. The project is being funded by the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF's) baseline as part of the Defence Capability Plan.

11 December 2017

The Government approved an additional $148 million to accommodate increases in installation costs of the combat system equipment into the Anzac ships. With the impact of foreign exchange taken into account, the project budget approved was $638.9 million. The budget remains unchanged. 

Prime Contractor

The prime contractor for the Frigate Systems Upgrade is Lockheed Martin Canada.

A number of separate contracts cover various aspects of the project including the Prime System Integrator, installation design, missiles, sonar upgrade, torpedo defence system and anti-ship missile defence decoys, designing and supplying the Combat Management System for each ANZAC Class Frigate along with the supply and integration of various sensors, missile system and a Combat System Trainer for the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.

The Combat Management System and many of the sensors are the same as those for the upgrade of the 12 Royal Canadian Navy Halifax Class frigates, also undertaken by Lockeed Martin Canada.

Tender process: An international open tender process in March-May 2013, followed by due diligence, a contract definition phase and best and final offer (BAFO) process.

Date awarded: 29 April 2014

Contract change: A major contract change was awarded on 12 December 2017 for the installation phase.

Current Status

HMNZS Te Kaha returned to New Zealand in December 2020 and in 2021 undertook a series of trials, tests, and exercises, allowing for the progressive release of the ship's operational capabilities. The ship had undergone the extensive upgrade programme in Canada involving installation of a new superstructure, masts and weaponry.

Te Mana left Canada on (NZT) 31 May 2022 following completion of final testing and trials of new systems and equipment, and after completing sea trials with the US Navy in San Diego arrived to a warm welcome at Devonport Naval Base on 8 July. 

The project’s latest round of Naval Operational Testing and Evaluation (NOTE) commenced with Te Mana undertaking a series of deployments to replicate operational parameters. This enables new equipment to be assessed as it operates with other ship systems to prove specific capabilities. This will be the final activity before Acceptance of Operational Release for the Frigate Systems Upgrade capability for both ships.

Over the 2022/23 year, Te Kaha underwent refit maintenance at Devonport Naval Base.

HMNZS Te Mana sails following the departure ceremony held at HMC Dockyard, Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt. Photo supplied © 2022 DND-MDN Canada.


Find out more about the RNZN’s frigates Te Kaha(external link) and Te Mana(external link).

Contact: Jon Finderup, Director Maritime Domain
Email: industry@defence.govt.nz

Updated: October 2023